Our time in Malaga was dotted with a variety of experiences. It was great to be in a larger centre again after having cycled through some very quiet places. Despite it being winter, Malaga was alive with people walking, eating, shopping, and working along the multitude of pedestrian streets in the historical centre of the city. We had decided that we would take an extended break from cycling because we had a chance to hang out for a weekend with Torin and to visit with a friend that we had met while living in Belize; Elena and her partner, Zoran and their new baby, Rocco.
So we booked 5 nights in the centre of the city and 6 nights just outside of the city in a place called Pedregalejo beach, which was once a quiet fishing village o the outskirts of the city but has since become popular with locals for eating, walking along the boardwalk and hanging out at the beach.
Malaga is a port city and diverse in the things that you can do, from exploring of historical sites, to hanging out at the beach, to watching the ongoings of the port, to eating great food in a multitude of restaurants.
Within the first three days of our stay in Malaga we ended up being a part of two protest marches. The Spanish people love to protest, are well organized and go all out with music, dancing and chanting and shouting out for what they are fighting for. The first protest took place on March 8th, International Women’s Day! We wandered down to the central part of the city with Elena, Zoran and Rocco until we found ourselves at the epicentre of 55,000 people. It was incredible to feel the energy of women of all ages shouting and standing up for their rights and for respect. But after spending so much time on quiet country roads and small towns, we were actually a bit shell shocked with the amount of people and could really only stand in the middle of it all and watch. We hung out there for a while, watching all the smaller groups, each with their own agenda, forming until at last they started to move. Though getting that many people moving in a single direction took some time.
The second protest was a little more controversial. It was a much smaller local protest to save a building in the old city from being bought by the city and converted into condos. The building was currently used as a refuge for those less privileged and had multiple little apartments, and coffee shop and a courtyard to hang out in. While it seemed like a worthwhile cause, we later understood that they hadn’t paid their taxes in a very long time and were essentially squatting on this piece of property.
Things that we enjoyed in Malaga.
Oh my gosh there were so many pedestrian streets. It was so amazing to walk out of our condo and just wander through the maze of streets. There were really too many amazing experiences to write about and we have to limit it to…
Picasso Museum – We found out that on Sunday afternoons it is free to visit the museum and so we wandered there to find a very long line up of people who were also trying to get in on this good deal . It was a great wander and discovering of who Picasso really was. We both weren’t that attracted to his art work but have quite been taken by Picassos’ quotes and sayings, such as:
A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it is finished it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.
As I read this, it precipitated a reflection on life itself. It is constantly changing and even when one might thing you have organized and planned things in life , they still go on changing. Life is alive and moving and as we make decisions and choices it undergoes change.
Caminto Del Rey
The Caminito del Rey was once touted as the world’s most dangerous hike and could now easily be classified as one of the world’s safest hiking routes. We heard about it, and figured out how to get tickets and bought the package that included a return train ticket from Malaga to El Chorro, but interestingly not the bus ride from El Chorro to the starting point, and entrance to the hike. We got off the bus and followed the path for several kilometres to the beginning of the hike and while there were several others on the path, it was completely manageable. That is until we got to the entrance of the park where we found busloads of tourist waiting to get on to the actual Caminito del Rey. Instead of fighting the crowds, we sat down and watched and had our lunch, after all we had all day before we had to be back in El Chorro to catch our train back to Malaga. Eventually the crowds thinned and we got in line, picked up our hard hats and ventured on to the path. We ended up taking the same approach while on the path, whenever a large group would come up behind us, we would just let them go and eventually we hiked most of the trail completely on our own. Surprisingly, most people treated it like a race, without stopping to read the descriptive signs, enjoy the views and yes, even watch the wildlife!
This was definitely one of the highlights of our time in this area of Spain. The hike took us through the gorge and for several kilometres was literally a boardwalk clinging to the side of the cliff. It was originally built to help workers from a small village get to their jobs on the other end of the gorge where a dam was being built. We read that at one time, even school kids took this route to and from school. At that time, it was a two foot wide concrete path, without the handrails and protective cables and fences we have now. After years of neglect the concrete rotted and it became the most dangerous hike in the world. At that time, we wouldn’t have considered it but now, thanks to all the safety measures, we were able to enjoy the beauty of the area, and be amazed at the engineering involved, and the extent that some people had to go to make a living!
Bike Ride on the Tour de Spain Route (March 17, 2018 / 47.86km / 1,229m / Link to Route)
We had been off our bikes for too long and there was a 48km loop that we were told was worth while doing. So on XXX, we were off and of course, the day wasn’t perfect weather-wise. The loop was a popular one for cyclists and formed part of the tour de Spain (not as big as the Tour de France but the same idea). The road was good and scenery beautiful. It was several hours of climbing before dropping back down to the sea. It started raining when we got close to the top and we pulled into a restaurant. Mary was quite cold and wet and spent a good deal of time beside the fire they had going. With that and a large bowl of seafood chowder we dried out and warmed up, but to say we were ready to get back on our bikes may not be completely accurate. It was still raining and it was still pretty cold at the top. But eventually I pulled Mary away from the fire and back out into the cold and rain and we headed down the mountain.